Louis I. Kahn Bath House and Day Camp Pavilions
The Bath House and Day Camp Pavilions, designed by Louis I. Kahn circa 1954-1957 for the Trenton Jewish Community Center (JCC), are locally and nationally significant. They mark a turning point in Kahn's career, representing a new way of defining space, and reflect an important stylistic advancement in the way modernist principles were infused with the lessons of the past. The Bath House and Day Camp were listed on the New Jersey and National Registers in 1984, prior to reaching fifty years of age, reflecting their extreme significance. The structures are also listed on the Ewing Township, NJ historic register.
Principals and staff of M+Sa,* working with consultants Heritage Landscapes, LLC (landscape architects), Keast & Hood Company (structural), Joseph R. Loring Associates (systems), The RBA Group (civil), and Wu Construction (restoration contractor) partnered with Mercer County and Ewing Township to preserve and recover the historic integrity of the buildings and landscape. The design approach was rooted in an initial Preservation Plan, a Preservation Plan update prepared for the County in 2007, and a Historic Landscape Assessment, all completed by the project team.
The mission of the project was threefold: to implement repair and restoration of the Bath House for ongoing use as a community center and pool; to reconstruct, based upon HABS-level documentation, the Day Camp Pavilions; and to interpret the site and improve site access with a new snack bar and new landscape features intended by Kahn but never completed. The work included restoration of Kahn's design for the site grid expressed in paving and fencing; restoration of features designed and lost, such as the entrance mural and circular atrium element; addition of geometric tree groves that were never planted; the design of a compatible new snack bar in one of Kahn's intended locations; and the careful addition of new features such as a ramp to the pool and restroom amenities to make the site fully accessible.
*working as Farewell Mills Gatsch Architects, LLC.